Several days before Monday’s State of the Nation Address by president Arroyo, tension is rising, punctuated by accusations and whispers of martial law, bombings and bomb scares, and adamant charter change rhetoric. However, the president herself chose to distance herself from these, letting the people around her do the talking.
The few times she speaks, it would be to pray for the health of former president Cory Aquino, to underscore her economic gains, announce the reopening of peace talks with the MILF and the CPP, and, now to silence the AFP guns to facilitate the resumption of the peace process with the MILF. Evidently, she is projecting a reconciliation image.
Is this a mere front for something sinister, like the martial law scenario that former Defense Secretary Nonong Cruz is warning about? Or is it paving the way for a possible retreat into the legacy mode.
The first possibility jives with the scenarios for maintaining the power beyond 2010. Any charter change scenario, whether there are elections or not in 2010, will now require a military component–the people are simply against any GMA staying on after 2010. A Marcos-type strongman rule will obviously be based on martial law.
The second possibility requires GMA to accept the inevitability of the 2010 elections and her relinquishment of the power. This recognizes the need to lighten the electoral difficulties of her ruling coalition allies and her own post-2010 political burden. In this scenario, she both need to reconcile with the people and her political enemies (or at least negate the latter’s capability to attack her) and also to leave a legacy that her family can build upon in their own political careers.
We will know GMA’s mood in the SONA. Or, rather, in the events surrounding the SONA.